EU, obstacles on the way ” “But many are those who continue believing in it

History has taught us that European integration has progressed in times of serious difficulties. The same could happen today

For a long time the European Union has been going through a bad situation. It strives to provide a convincing, defined answer to the external challenges threatening Europe: first the economic and financial crisis, then Russia’s aggressiveness, and further on humanitarian catastrophes caused by famine, by terror regimes and by the war in Africa and in the Middle East, with the ensuing “assault” of migrants and refugees. In the elections being held in Member Countries, parties that are hostile to the community unification politics thus acquire greater consistency: those unsatisfied ascribe their refusals and criticism to the EU, attacking monetary policies, asylum along with austerity and reform policies. Thus external threats are added on to internal problems… In fact, the ongoing crisis of economic development and its impact on the job market have led many Europeans to express themselves against a trans-national community. Moreover, also many EU Member Countries are in a bad situation (and this is probably the most significant reason while also the EU on the whole is in dire straits). The most serious threats to its cohesion are currently coming from Great Britain and Greece. The United Kingdom ranges between staying and exiting, while the Scottish calls for division undermine its existence. In Greece the government in office since the beginng of the year simultaneously belongs to the left and to the radical right, prisoner of irrational promises, which because of its arrogance has soon lost its political credit which it would strongly need to save the Country from bankruptcy. Also in other Member Countries, where the populist spirit against European unity is increasing, nationalism is always the one attracting a-political contemporaries. However, it can be understood that in times of crisis the feeling of national belonging automatically grows across the population. European citizens feel threatened in their existence by the consequences of the crisis, they worry they won’t be able to preserve the same lifestyle and are afraid of the future. They believe the that the one responsible of this attack against their identity is outside their community and wish to return to a condition which they assume had offered them security, i.e., their own nation. These sentiments are politically easy to manipulate. They are manipulated by the left and by the right. But they are also moods, which could wane. In reality, the history of European unification in the course of the past 65 years has repeatedly experienced periods of political depression, which as some observers had predicted, have not marked the end of the integration process. Also this time the historic movement leading towards a closer union of national European states may grow stronger, as the benefits of unification policies are real, despite occasional flaws in the terms of performance in the EU. The survey carried out by the Pew Research Center past Spring, across six European Countries (France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland and Spain), seems to confirm these expectations. The feelings of the public opinion regarding European politics are once more enlightened: 61% of the interviewees have a positive opinion of the EU, while a couple of years ago they amounted only to 52%. As shown in the survey, higher figures depend on the gradual improvement of the economic situation. Moreover, large numbers of European citizens believe that economic conditions in their Country are negative. While in Germany three quarters of interviewees belive that the economic situation is positive and therefore two thirds have a positive opinion of the EU, only 12% of the Italians interviews consider Italy’s situation to be good. However, two thirds have a positive opinion of the EU, highlighting the fact that positive evaluation of the EU doesn’t only depend on economic development. It’s also interesting to not that the British people’s enthusiasm regarding exit from the EU dropped significantly since Prime Minister Cameron announced a referendum on this issue two years ago. At the time the population was divided: 46% in favour of exit from the EU, and 46% against. Today, only one third support exit from the EU, while 55% are in favour of EU membership. In short, it’s not over yet. Europeans should try not to let themselves be overcome by difficulties and by the crisis linked to the unification process, but rather holding on to reason, rejecting pessimism.

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